“It was a great start to a fantastic trip,” he said.
Freshman tenor saxophone player Tyler Stapleford had been waiting a long time to travel as part of the Marching Lancers, mother Christine said.
“He’s been looking forward to his first trip since fourth grade with the band,” she said.
A fire alarm, which turned out to be false, sent the students out into the parking lot in the middle of their first night. But they still got up early Sunday to tour Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Then it was off to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the students, while band directors went to a parade meeting in Washington. Chaperone Fiona Moran reported it was warm and sunny in the capital.
Students visited the National Aquarium and feasted on Italian food before heading back to the hotel for a final band meeting before the big day.
Early yesterday morning, the Lancers, in full uniform, may have surprised a few other hotel guests when they did a last-minute practice through the lobby of their hotel. They also warmed up in the parking lot there before heading in to Washington for security checks and instructions before the parade.
It was a long wait before the band had its moment to shine, but the members were well prepared.
“(Soucy) told us to get a good night’s sleep and mentally prepare yourself,” Conti said.
Their chaperones waited for hours at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street, but they also got a close-up look at the president and his wife when they walked the parade route ahead of the parade.
Last night, it was off to Bubba Gump’s in Baltimore for a celebratory dinner.
The band was expected to leave Maryland at 8:30 this morning, with an estimated return to Londonderry at 9 p.m.
With music director Andy Soucy leading the way, the band has traveled and performed in China, three Pasadena Tournament of Roses parades, the Orange Bowl parade, numerous trips to New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and much more.